The Witness

Nora Roberts, hands down, is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is full of passion and adventure gripping me from the first book of hers I ever read. This book, THE WITNESS is no exception. It is pure beauty, how she crafts such an incredible love story, with thrilling elements for the reader to enjoy along the way. It’s no wonder I wanted to include one of her books in the 2018 Reading Challenge.

Several years back, a good friend gave me a copy of one of Nora Roberts books, I believe it was BLUE SMOKE. While I have only read a fraction of her numerous books, I have yet to find myself disappointed. I consider these books to be a sort of guilty pleasure I can never get enough of. In my mind, they fit in this category because they are pure entertainment with little brain power required. Sometimes, it’s how some of the best stories are.

THE WITNESS is the pick for guilty pleasure for the 2018 Reading Challenge. It seemed like the perfect spot to place a most exciting romance read. When first opened the reader is greeted with one form of romance. As the story progresses a love story blossoms.

The reader gets to know an independent woman who builds a life for herself that she is content with. Along the journey she unexpectedly meets a man whose desire is to help and protect her. This is no easy feat with a difficult past leading her to be rather self-sufficient. This relationship, like any other that is not perfect, it just has two people meant to be together.

Behind the scenes of the building love, Nora Roberts has other characters at play. These characters are mostly witnessed through the eyes of the main characters. Despite this, they still play a vital role to the story. These other characters bring trouble and conflict to the story, leaving the reader to question who will win in the end.

The biggest thrill of THE WITNESS is the writing. Nora Roberts has a way of making passion and love leap off the pages. The love, struggles, and raw emotion hook the reader, refusing to let go until the back cover is closed. This is probably why she is one of my favorites.

The suspense, passion and adventure add up to an amazing book that will not disappoint. I recommend this book to any interested in something different in the world of romance.


The Son

Before I get to the book review, I would like to give you a mini background story. Approximately two years ago I started a bookstagram account to be more involved with my passion for books. Through this account I found Crime by the Book and have been a follower ever since. She writes a blog (Crime by the Book) where her passion for crime fiction and her love of various favorite authors shines. One of these authors is Jo Nesbo, and it is because of her that I have wanted to read one of his books for some time.

Which brings me to where this book fits in with the 2018 Reading Challenge. THE SON falls under the category of an author I’ve been meaning to check out. After hearing Abby rave about his works, and how they are one of her favorites, I couldn’t resist.

This was a work of crime fiction that is rather different in style from the other crime fiction novels I’ve read. It contained some of the typical elements; murder, revenge, a dirty cop, and actions taken in memory of somebody lost. What made this different, was how the story was told. Jo Nesbo truly left the reader in suspense for much of the story. The reader is left unable to guess the complete picture. When all is revealed, what a surprise! Somehow, amongst everything else taking place, there was a love story snuck between the pages. While it almost seemed out of place, it gave life, and added substance to some of the characters.

Jo Nesbo’s writing brought the story, and the characters to life. He captivates the reader, ignites their imagination and curiosity, gripping them in suspense as they read. This suspenseful crime novel is complete with a magical bow tie ending. Words can only describe so much of the book, the rest is up to the reader.


“Fairytale” falls under the book judged by the cover for the 2018 Reading Challenge. In the case of this book, I found the cover irresistible. There was so much charm with a woman in a fancy dress, and various shades of blue. Having previously read one of Danielle Steel’s works my expectations were a little bit higher, but I was still looking forward to what lay beneath it all.

The verdict: “Fairytale” exceeded my expectations, and judgement with its charm and feel good writing. I was blown away with how such a simple story was given a twist to make it unique, and an exciting adventure for the reader. What could once be viewed as a classic has been shaped into a beautiful story set in the gorgeous Napa Valley.

The magic is all in the writing. Danielle Steel mixed the elements of a classic fairytale with new characters, a different setting, and a modern time to make it her own. It’s craftily blended and able to catch the reader off guard. There is more to the story than greets the eye with the cover.

“Fairytale” came into my reading life at a time when I needed it the most. It proved to be the perfectly crafted escape that I was not aware that I needed. With stunning writing, captivating characters, and a winning plot this book is sure to win the hearts of other readers beyond myself.

The Count of Monte Cristo

In the 2018 Reading Challenge “The Count of Monte Cristo” is a book recommended by a friend. When I was at a training class for work a fellow class member mentioned it in conversation. Following this, and several other people mentioning they like the book, I grasped the opportunity to read it for this challenge. I read an abridged version of the book (on accident) and one day I hope to read the unabridged version.

In conversation, it seems that the main theme of this book is revenge. I would view “The Count of Monte Cristo” as a classic tale of revenge, and it is played out excellently. Edmond, so innocent in his ways, suffers a tragedy, and pays time for a crime he didn’t commit. What seems like a story of sorrow, turns into a story of making others pay for their mistakes. After the time is served, the mystery begins. Who is this person, and what are they up to?

Alexandre Dumas’s writing is sure to captivate the reader. His writing style has a way of bringing the story to life. Most of the time I feel like I am a part of the story, this time I felt like I was watching it come to life before my eyes as though it was a play. He brings a different experience for the reader to the table, leaving them something a different flavor for their taste buds.

My takeaway from “The Count of Monte Cristo” is classic books are enjoyable to read, and offer a variety in their story types and writing styles. These are stories that have withstood the test of time, bringing stories to life for readers of all ages and types.

Ready Player One

In the 2018 Reading Challenge “Ready Player One” satisfied the book made into a movie category. I originally found this book at an independent bookstore, and picked it up based on the snippet written by a staff member. Some time after I purchased the book, I went to the movies. While I was anxiously awaiting the movie to begin, I saw a trailer for a movie of this book. It captivated me and I felt the urge to move this book up on my TBR list.

“Ready Player One” is an adventure read that is sure to capture a variety of readers with its elements. This book has just about everything from video games and virtual reality, good guy vs bad guy, a hero, 80’s throwbacks and a little budding romance. It’s unbelievable how Ernest Cline found a way to encompass such a variety into his writing. The variety adds to the story line making it spectacular.

The best, yet possibly most cliche part of the story was the battle between the good guys trying to save the world, while the bad guys just want everything for themselves. This served as the main point of conflict in the story, and what a joy it was to read. Ernest Cline’s writing brought thrill to the battles and anticipation to how events would play out. He keeps the reader on the edge of their seat nearly guessing at who is going to win, eagerly awaiting the excitement of the final battle.

While reading, I found myself intrigued, wondering about how this story would look in real life, particularly involving virtual reality. Virtual reality in real life is just starting out, while in the book it’s nearly a main character. I couldn’t help but wonder how different life would be if the book came to life. What do you think life would be like if “Ready Player One” came to life?


The Philosopher’s Flight

In the 2018 Reading Challenge “The Philosopher’s Flight” fell under the category of book published this year.

“The Philosopher’s Flight” is sure to dazzle, and impress readers’ looking for a historical novel with a magical twist. The setting: World War 1 America with women having the ability to fly and transport, while the men play supporting roles. The tale includes family conflict, a young man coming of age. flying, romance, and triumph. The simple version, it includes the right elements to make it a story worth sharing.

The world Tom Miller creates captures the senses of the reader, giving them the full experience. I found myself vocally expressing my feelings multiple times throughout the course of the book. The writing and story grabbed a hold of me and just wouldn’t let go.

The best, or at least one of my favorite parts, it the coming of age story that takes place. In this world where woman have the ‘cool’ flying jobs, men have the supporting roles. Except, of course, for a young man looking to follow in his mother’s footsteps. He has his mind set to achieving his goal, while others keep telling him it can’t happen. This mostly, doesn’t stop him. He wants to do it, and achieve nothing less than the best. His perseverance is amazing, and something I admired.

What first attracted me to this book was that the woman dominated this world. What kept me interested was Tom Miller’s writing. This book is sure to impress many other reader’s like myself, and I hope you take the time to check it out.

Pride and Prejudice

I read “Pride and Prejudice” as part of the 2018 Reading Challenge. I chose this for the classic book category after it was mentioned in multiple conversations. While I have read other books that may be considered a classic, “Pride and Prejudice” felt like the real deal.

While “Pride and Prejudice” falls under the romance genre, it felt different from others that I have read. In this case, there was more dialogue involved in the story, courting, lots of dances and some laughter. As a bonus, it wasn’t obvious that the guy was going to get the girl or vice versa. These are all characteristics from Jane Austen writing this book in a different time period, and it is reflected well in the story.

Jane Austen’s writing had a sit and savor the story feel, rather than an eager to see what happens sort of feel. In some ways, it felt like I was reading a show, rather than watching it. This was a nice change of pace for my reading. “Pride and Prejudice” would be the perfect book to sit back during a storm in a cozy chair with a cup of tea, to savor time indoors.

The best part about “Pride and Prejudice” is the characters. The personalities of the characters, combined with the difference in time period made for an entertaining read. Each character was unique, and the writing helped them shine in their own light; especially if opposing characters were together in a scene. If I had to pick a favorite it would probably be Elizabeth. Her attitude was top notch, and almost seemed ahead of her time. She is a gal after my own heart.

Reading “Pride and Prejudice” was a delightful change of pace that has opened my eyes to the beauty of a classic book. Upon finishing the book, I almost felt like a more rounded reader because of it.


Hardened Hearts

“Hardened Hearts” is a collection of short stories about love. However, it’s not a normal take on love and the effect it has on the characters in a story. These stories, each with a different author, take on a darker aspect when it comes to love.

This different aspect of love is what makes this book, and the stories it contains unique. The way the authors portrayed love made the story jump to life off the pages. The stories also contained magical elements with a little bit of reality mixed in. The style has a way to awaken the imagination of the reader.

What made the book unique, also made the book a little bit harder for me to get through. The powerful stories are out of my normal reading range, and the darkness was a bit more difficult for me to get through. I found it better to sit, enjoy a story at a time, rather than trying to read as much as possible in a sitting. It was definitely a step, though nearly a jump, outside of my reading comfort zone.

“Hardened Hearts” is a bit difficult for me to review, but I am thankful I took the time to read something so different. This book seems like it is meant for somebody who may like darker tales than myself.

The Thirteenth Tale

“The Thirteenth Tale” was my blind date, for a blind date with a book from the 2018 Reading Challenge. I’m honestly not sure I could’ve found a better book for myself, not only as a reader, but in general for Valentine’s Day and the season of love.

What sets “The Thirteenth Tale” apart is the uniqueness of its story. This is a book that highlights the love of reading, the desire to tell a story and an aspect of the life of a reader. Basically, it’s a book about reading. Who knew something like this was out there?

The writing was stunning; bringing a relatable story completely to life in the reader’s mind. The words have a way of flowing, bringing a sort of smoothness to the reading; adding to the already beautiful story. It was an appealing, and attractive writing style. Which, who doesn’t want that in a blind date?

“The Thirteenth Tale” is a unique book that deserves to have the story speak for itself. With captivating writing it is sure to attract readers and non-readers alike. This is a book that is hard to describe without talking about how it makes a person feel when reading it.


“Startup” is the perfect book if a reader is looking for a laugh out loud worthy, entertaining, pick-me-up sort of read. With a present day setting, all social media involvement included, it’s hard to resist putting down such a delightful read.

Doree Shafrir’s talent is on display with a style of writing that is sure to win all readers over. She brings characters to life, not forgetting a single ridiculous moment in their lives. She includes a little bit of everything in the book from humor to blackmail to marriage problems to the power of Twitter to how times have changed with technology. Doree Shafrir’s writing is nothing short of spectacular.

The story takes place in a New York turned Silicon Valley type with all the startup companies catering to developing another apps that people might use, or to help improve their life. Accompanying this are the journalists who are out there to write about all the happenings. Things are looking pretty standard for journalists until one of them happens to find what they think will be a big story. As this journalist gets deeper into the story, blackmail comes to play, hook ups are discovered in the office environment, and of course one person tries not to crack under pressure.

The writing brings the story and characters to life, leaving the reader no choice but to literally laugh out loud at some of the events in the book. Some of the events may even leave the reader in disbelief at what the characters are doing. This is quality entertainment at its finest.

Anybody who picks up “Startup” won’t be disappointed, and it is certain to brighten up their mood.